inspiration: alexis and betheny in rehearsal

self-portrait with alexis and betheny

I’m stuck. It happens sometimes. After almost a year of intense inspiration, major projects accomplished, new muses; I’ve become lost and can’t find my way. So I take my pen to paper, half knowing that writing about my predicament will help push me forward once again.

Normally I can see my future, at least the many possible futures, but my mind right now seems almost blank. Part of the problem is self induced, I’m partially blaming others for my state of mind. I know that is so wrong and all it does is put up greater walls to the inspiration I’m looking for. I need to let go, settle down, and realize all of the things that are so great in my life.

alexis and betheny in rehearsal

Last week, I had a shoot with Alexis Convento and Betheny Merola. It was a studio rehearsal of a dance they performed at Dixon Place a few days ago. I’ve been wanting to work with both dancers for a long time. I met both Betheny and Alexis separately about a year ago and managed a quick mirror portrait with Alexis, but then a few major projects happened and I focused on nothing but what was right in front of my face. With my Ballet Next project making a slow transition into year two, my work with ACB Dance stalled, and my mirror series needing an inspirational transfusion, somewhere I had to find a breath of fresh air to get me going again.

betheny merola in rehearsal

Two weeks ago, I was running a bit late to an ACB Dance rehearsal at DANY’s studios and as I was flying up the stairs I almost ran into Alexis and Betheny leaving their rehearsal together. I was so out in space at the time, if Betheny hadn’t said hello I wouldn’t have noticed them and I didn’t even recognize Alexis at all. I didn’t realize it was her until later that day. Fortunately my brain was working well enough to realize a rehearsal between these two women at DANY could be a spark to help me get going again. I contacted Alexis and made plans to shoot their rehearsal the next Sunday.

alexis convento with betheny merola

I understand right away when I walk into a studio whether I’m going to get good pictures or not and when I walked into Alexis’s and Betheny’s rehearsal I knew it was going to be a good afternoon. I hardly know either woman but I felt warmth and friendship the second I entered the studio. As I began shooting, I knew they were making a special effort to help me get great pictures. The rehearsal was calm and relaxing, almost more like a portrait shoot in my apartment than a rehearsal shoot in a studio.

alexis convento and betheny merola

When everything’s working, like it was that afternoon, I don’t have to think at all. I just take pictures and work on my art. When the dancers are special, I can concentrate on the light and my composition. I don’t have to worry about making them look good or finding the right moment because they’re doing that for me. A bond of energy, a wonderful mystery I’ve never understood, forms between us and we work in silence as if we were one person. I didn’t want this shoot to end.

alexis convento and betheny merola

I’m still stuck, but now my eyes are open. I have ideas. I can see hazy images of the future and I feel the inspiration building in my head. More important, the shoot with Betheny and Alexis showed me the way to move forward again. They probably have no idea how much those two hours in the studio meant to me.

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